Bumped is wonderfully original, with an extremely well thought-out dystopian society, the details of which the reader deduces through context and dialogue, rather than via a dull prologue. The protagonists begin as manifestations of two extreme political points, but morph into stunningly human portrayals of conflict and a search for autonomy. McCafferty’s future echoes just enough of current events to seem chillingly possible.
For Melody Mayflower, 16 and pregnant isn’t a trashy reality show — it’s the human race’s best chance at survival when a virus makes the population infertile after age 18. Teens are society’s breeders, the valuable ones striking lucrative contracts for their “bumping” services. When Melody’s overbearing twin sister Harmony shows up with plans to convert Melody to a religious sect, both girls wonder if their seemingly oppositional lives share a common lack of personal choice. (BALZER + BRAY, May, 384 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9780061962745, HC, 14 & Up)